Report: Black Cats secure Play-Off place

Morecambe 0-1 Sunderland AFC


Following a final-day victory at Morecambe, Sunderland will face Sheffield Wednesday in the semi-finals of the Sky Bet League One Play-Offs.


Nathan Broadhead opened the scoring at the Mazuma Stadium, but the striker was forced off with 26 minutes played after being unable to shake off an injury. 


Scorelines elsewhere ensured the Black Cats had effectively secured a top-six finish at the break, with the Shrimps also knowing that safety was within touching distance prior to the restart. 


Patrick Roberts did threaten in the second period and Morecambe continued to battle until the final seconds, but the points belonged to the Black Cats, who will face the Owls at the Stadium of Light on Friday (KO 7.45pm).


Alex Neil made three changes for the Mazuma Stadium match-up, as Elliot Embleton, Alex Pritchard and Patrick Roberts were named in the starting XI. 


The Lads were handed a further boost ahead of the game, with Aiden McGeady named in the matchday squad for the first time since November. 


An early set piece put the Black Cats under pressure, but commanding defending led by Bailey Wright ensured any danger was quickly averted. 


With ten minutes on the clock, the Lads opened the scoring through Broadhead. 


The striker let the ball slide into his path and a quick burst of pace set him through on goal, with the finish giving former Sunderland ‘keeper Trevor Carson no chance. 


Unfortunately, an injury meant the on-loan Everton man was replaced by Jack Clarke with just 26 minutes on the clock. 


The opening period ended 1-0 but a carnival atmosphere ensued in all four sectors of the ground, as news filtered through from Priestfield Stadium that Gillingham were behind – and the Shrimps, as it stood, were staying up. 


Elsewhere, Sheffield Wednesday completed a first-half turnaround against Portsmouth to lead 3-1 and consolidate fourth place, but Plymouth Argyle entered the break 3-0 down to MK Dons and Play-Off football was heading to Wearside. 


With both sides knowing their respective fates, clear-cut chances were few and far between in the second half. 


Roberts forced Carson into action after Embleton and Pritchard combined, although Morecambe remained a threat on the counter and the Black Cats needed to remain focussed.


Pritchard also saw a free kick deflect over the top, but the full-time whistle was greeted with cheers by all.


Survival clinched for Morecambe, with Wearside sights set on next week’s double-header against Sheffield Wednesday. 


Morecambe FC: Carson, Bedeau, Stockton, Wildig, Connolly (Obika 84), Phillips, Cooney, Gibson, Gnahoua (Ayunga 68), Fane (Diagouraga 71), Bennett.

Subs not used: Smith, O’Connor, McLoughlin, McCalmont. 


Sunderland AFC: Patterson, Evans, Batth, Embleton, Broadhead (Clarke 26), Gooch, O’Nien, Stewart (Matete 73), Pritchard (Neil 82), Wright, Roberts.

Subs not used: Hoffmann, Xhemajli, McGeady, Hume.


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